Designing for America @WashU

What is it like to be a member of DFA?

Well, for starters, Design for America is a human-centered design organization that focuses on various projects in and around the St. Louis area (and there are teams at several other universities around the country). The members split into teams and work to design solutions for problems related to education, technology, employment, and beyond. The incoming team members, which is my current status, are working with a computer science bootcamp—LaunchCode (give their site a look: https://www.launchcode.org/)—in order to implement services that will improve the students’ experience in the program. We have conducted several interviews with users—or students—asking about their experiences in and outside of LaunchCode’s studios. Interviewing was a great opportunity to get off campus and be present in the community around WashU. A lot of faculty and upperclassmen will say how important it is to “leave the WashU bubble”. And if you do not hear it from anyone else, I am telling you now!

Leaving campus is an adventurous way to take a break from the rigor and workload that is WashU. The organizations and extracurricular groups on campus will often lend opportunities for an adventure into the community around your university. It was exciting to meet the users in the bootcamp and receive exposure to the landscape of St. Louis!

DFA has also encouraged networking with other first-years and upperclassmen. We spend hours in studio together researching and brainstorming ways to help our clients. The collaborative energy of DFA stems from the diversity of majors and minors that are present in the group. We are NOT all art students. There are business and language majors sitting in studio with the communication and fashion design majors. As a collective, we contribute amazing ideas that produce remarkable designs. I am officially plugging DFA for anyone interested in having a hands-on experience in designing and implanting ways to improve communities, companies, issues, etc. within and around the St. Louis area.

Until next time: have a beautiful day!